Friday, November 8, 2013

Bridge Blog 721: Niagara Falls Regional, Part II

Partner Usha Khurana was uneasy about playing in the open pairs on Thursday from the minute we were knocked out of the knock-outs on Wednesday. She thought she should be playing the Gold Rush Pairs, which were limited to players with fewer than 750 points, and which might give her a better chance at her much-wanted gold points.

Instead, we were in the Daylight Open Pairs where, I assured her, gold could be had if you win. That’s a tall order, though, even though we were in the B strat. We started off well enough. In an early round against expert Buffalo player Kathy Pollock, I even made an overtrick on a 5 Clubs doubled vulnerable contract.

After that, triumphs were more scarce. I doubled opponents and lost a couple times, figuring erroneously that Usha’s bids implied Aces in her suits. We still looked like contenders after eight rounds, sixth in the B strat with 52-odd % when preliminary results were posted, but we sank in the final tally to 48%, well out of the running.

Well, there was another session in the afternoon, but it didn’t feel nearly as good as the morning.  The preliminary list had us next to last with 42%. When the final reckoning was posted, we had dropped to 38%. Usha didn’t want to stick around to analyze the results hand by hand. She still thought she would have done better in the Gold Rush Pairs. Friday she gets her wish in the Gold Rush Swiss Teams, when she plays with Joe Miranda.

Meanwhile, I checked in with the partnership desk and lined up teammates for the Compact Knock-outs on Friday. A couple named Hughes from Scarborough, Ont. Mr. H. said on the phone that they don’t have a lot of points, but they play like they do.

Random notes: Our pairs games were in the fifth floor meeting rooms, which were packed with two sections of players. One of the rooms had mesh-bottomed office chairs, akin to my super-comfortable Herman Miller Aeron chair at The News, and they were a delight in the morning session. Usha’s back didn’t get nearly as sore as it did on Wednesday. In the afternoon, we were in the other room, with standard torturous upholstered chairs. Usha had her Tylenol out before the session was over.

Parking problems solved. I got a ticket from the registration desk at the hotel. When I showed it to the attendant on the way out of the ramp, he said hold onto it. I’m good for the weekend.

Poppy problems overcome, at least for now. I acquired a new Armistice Day poppy to replace the one I lost Wednesday, then heard people say they lose them and ante up additional donations to replace them all the time. Could be a racket. I pinned this poppy higher on my sweater vest and dropped only once. Thanks to Saleh Fetouh for calling the drop to my attention.

Lots more Buffalo people around on Thursday, including John Kirsits and Ken Meier, who we faced in the final morning round. They took a top board off us on the last hand by making a 3 No Trump bid, sinking us and getting enough of a boost to win their strat.

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